UPDATE (January 23, 2018) -- Emilee Keith pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent. She was sentenced to 450 days in jail, with the majority of the sentence suspended to supervised probation.
DECATUR COUNTY, Ind. – A Decatur County mom is facing child neglect charges after police found her two toddlers wandering the streets.
“I was horrified, terrified and I did not know what to say,” said neighbor Miranda Friend.
Friend says she walked out of her Greensburg home last week and found the two 2-year-old kids in the street.
“There were no parents around so I grabbed them out of the road and moved them to the park. I tried to talk to them to find out their names and where their parents were. They could not really respond to me,” said Friend.
Friend says the kids were in bad shape, so she called 911.
“Their clothes were dirty. Both diapers were soiled really well and they did not have any shoes or socks on. Their feet and hands were cold and wet,” said Friend.
Officers say the kids were in the custody of their grandparents, but were being watched by their mom, 22-year-old Emilee Keith, at the time.
According to court documents, Keith thought her kids were still inside of her home, but when officers arrived, the back-door was wide open.
Officers say the conditions inside of the home were dangerous for toddlers. They found feces covering the floor, prescription medicines out in the open and believe the kids had been eating expired yogurt out of an animal food bowl.
“I did not want to let them go because who knew what situation they would end up back in,” said Friend.
According to DCS, child neglect and abuse is a big problem in Decatur County. So far this year, the county’s local DCS office assessed 763 cases of child abuse and neglect. That is nearly double the amount from five years ago. DCS says they work with community partners to help connect kids and families with resources.
Groups FOX59 spoke with recommend dialing 211 to find those options in your area.
Keith is no longer at the Decatur County Jail. According to court documents, the grandparents who had custody of the kids could face charges as well.